Happy May, everybody! This crisis somehow both feels like it’s speeding into the future and making time crawl — as one friend remarked yesterday, it’s like we’ve all entered an alternate universe where nothing ever happens — and we have to hold on to the smallest glimmers of possible news and the tiniest drips of rewards to keep us going and remind us that today is not actually the same as yesterday. In particular, today is fee-free day on Bandcamp, when 100% of purchase prices goes to artists, and lots of musicians have released new albums and singles and video downloads for the occasion. Between that and historic baseball games on YouTube with no scores listed so you can be surprised at how they turn out, maybe we’ll get through the weekend, at least.
And speaking of week’s end, that’s where we are, and there’s plenty of dribs and drabs of news-like items from the week that just passed, so let’s catch up on what the sports world has been doing while not playing sports:
- The Canadian Premier League (that’s soccer) has joined the CFL in asking for a federal government bailout, though in this case it’s only $15 million and only “short-term financing,” which presumably means they’ll pay the money back in the short term, unlike their football siblings who want to “repay” it through things like player personal appearances.
- Construction on Seattle’s NHL arena is continuing as an essential activity, and the New York Islanders are hoping to resume construction on their new arena shortly, and F.C. Cincinnati‘s new stadium is also being allowed to continue construction work, and the Las Vegas Raiders‘ stadium is continuing construction even after seven workers tested positive for Covid, and everybody says their buildings will be open as scheduled (this fall for the Raiders, 2021 for everyone else), because of course they’re going to say that, at least until they don’t. The Cincinnati Reds and Bengals did graciously allow Hamilton County to defer $2.1 million of maintenance projects, though, including repainting seats and buying a new snow plow, which maybe should just remind you that for some reason Cincinnati taxpayers are on the hook for providing the Reds and Bengals with a snow plow.
- The Little League World Series has been canceled, and MLB might hold spring training in teams’ home stadiums because something about “saving time and money,” and the NHL could push the start of next season back to December to give time to finish this season first, and the NBA could play all its games in Orlando maybe, and Spanish soccer is taking baby steps toward maybe restarting, and German soccer has had even its baby steps pushed back, and the Australian Football League is hoping to start planning a resumption of games even while players threaten to boycott if they can’t bring their families, and all of this (except the Little League World Series) is just pretend until we know more about when restrictions will be lifted, how much viral transmission is likely from various sports being played even without fans, and so on. And speaking of pretend, here’s New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying there could be baseball in New York City this summer, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci saying some sports might have to skip 2020 entirely. In an infinite universe of possible futures, anything is possible.
- Here’s an ESPN article projecting that “the sudden disappearance of sports will erase at least $12 billion in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs,” based on an analysis done by Washington University sports business professor Patrick Rishe (links to actual study not included in ESPN’s article). If by “erase” they mean from sports leagues’ ledgers, sure, probably, though as usual, for the greater economy there’s some substitution effect to be accounted for: If I’m taking the money I would normally be spending at New York Mets games and instead buying videos of 15-year-old Los Straitjackets shows, that’s not a net zero. (If I have no money to spend because I can’t find work because the journalism industry is collapsing into itself, that’s a different story, obviously.) Also, the sudden disappearance of sports will likely erase billions of dollars of expenses as well, so really you need a more nuanced analysis, but hell with it, just stick a big round number in the headline, that’s all you need to get people to click on it.
- I wasn’t going to bother linking to this GoLocalProv piece from last week that’s just me and economist Victor Matheson talking about how it’s dumb for Pawtucket to subsidize a pro soccer stadium during a pandemic and also dumb to subsidize one not during a pandemic, but those are both worthwhile things to be reminded of, I guess, so feel free to check it out.
- Are you desperate enough for sports news to watch a guy in a helicopter flying over Dodger Stadium to see how renovations are proceeding? Click to find out!